Feb 1, 2009

The Paigah Tombs

The Paigah nobility of princely Hyderabad was founded by Abul Fateh Khan Tegh Jung Bahadur. For his devotion and services in ensuring the defence and security of the state, the then Nizam Salabat Jung conferred several honorary titles on him, and gave him the hereditary right to maintain a private army, or a Paigah. Thereafter, the family began to be known as the Paigahs.

Abul Fateh Khan's son, Fakhruddin Khan, married Sahebzadi Bashirunnissa Begum, the daughter of Mir Nizam Ali Khan, Asaf Jah II, escalating the position of the Paigahs in the aristrocratic hierarchy to second only to the Nizams. That began the tradition of the Paigahs marrying princesses from the Nizam's family. Since they were now related to the Nizams by marriage, they had their own postage, police, courts and army, and were pretty much above the law.

While the Paigahs were primarily responsible for defence and security, they were also the main palace builders of the state. In fact, the very famous Falaknuma Palace was built by the Paigah Nawab Vikhar-ul-Umra Iqbal-ud-doula. He later gifted it to the sixth Nizam.

Generations of Paigahs, starting from the first Paigah, Abul Fateh Khan, are buried in the Paigah Tombs, in Santosh Nagar, Hyderabad. The breathtaking tombs are built in marble and lime, decorated with stucco work and perforated marble screens with intricate jali work on them.
Unfortunately, not many people know about the tombs. I called the AP Tourism office to get directions to the place. And the guy said, "What's that?" It is quite easy to locate - It is in the lane right opposite to the Owaisi Hospital in Santosh Nagar. If you're searching, ask for Owaisi Hospital and not Paigah tombs, since that is better known.

Huge pieces of marble have been broken away by vandals, and the place is full of illegal occupants. There was a caretaker (at least that's what I think he was) who showed us around and charged us for it, but there were no printed tickets. It's a pity really, that although we have such a wonderful piece of heritage well within the city, most of us are unaware of it, and it is rotting away from neglect.


  1. Lovely pictures!

    It’s sad & unfortunate that such a beautiful place is in ignorant state.

  2. Nice work exploring and sharing something which was lost in our bureaucratic system and indifference of policy makers.

    Beautiful pictures, would like to see them in better resolution, if you can share something that would be great!

  3. Beautiful pics. I stayed & studied close to Santosh Nagar for 20 years and did not know about this place. Very beautiful!

  4. Thanks for taking me to these enchanting places through the photographs. And by the way very good shots too :)

  5. Anonymous9:22 AM

    It is beautiful- the pictures and the story.

  6. Thank you, Alok! Yes, it's very tragic that nobody knows about it!

    Abhikalp, thank you :) I share some of the pictures in better resolution on my Flickr stream. The link is on the sidebar of this blog :) Do visit :)

    VJ-Shillu, like I said, we asked many locals in Santosh Nagar for directions, and they didnt know! Were you one of the people we asked? :P
    I'm kidding....thanks a ton :)

    Thank you Slogan Murugan :)

    Thank you Sekhar :)

    Thank you Aditi :)

  7. I've come here after a really looong time & what beautiful pics!!! This place looks right up my alley. And not too many people know abou this? people never stop amazing me. Such a treasure & how can it remain hidden. Then again, at a purely selfish level, it will be less crowed. When I come to Hyderabad,Muadhu, You are the 1st person I'm writing to :)

  8. Aditya8:00 PM

    That's a really bad thing. Hyd does have tons of heritage sites, so to speak, and our Government SHOULD care for them. Do you mind sending this post to the editors of the local newspapers?(Hindu, DC, Eenadu etc.)

  9. Shame on AP Government. Paigahs are my Grand Maa's sis in-laws. Wish I could c it when i was in hyd :-(

  10. very nice write up :) even we had to do lot of chakkar around that area to finally locate it. there is actually a tourism board on the corner of the road but its hardly visible.

    The caretaker there explained a lot to us about the architecture and the bad maintenance of govt. He said its actually a blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture and appreciated how people used to respect others religion in those days. There a mosque on to the right side of tombs and he said he takes care of both of them.

  11. Hey Madhu!

    Lovely write-up and pics. We want to visit the place as well, could you tell me how to reach the Paigah Tombs from Mehedipatnam. Are there buses from Mehedipatnam? Thanks!

  12. @ Somdatta: try to get to Owaisi Hospital, Santosh Nagar. Once you are there you can ask the ppl around and they should guide you :)

  13. Thanks a ton Vineeta - it will be my pleasure to guide you around hyd :)

    Thank you Aditya! That would be a good idea, but I wonder how one goes about it?

    Thank you Krish...Yes, there's a lot of Rajasthani influence in the architecture.

    Thank you Somdatta! I don't know if there are buses from Mehdipatnam, but I went from Mehdipatnam as well - the best way to go is to take the ring road off rethibowli. You can also go via Koti, but the traffic is terrible in that route. Like I wrote, and Krish also said, Owaisi Hospital is the best known landmark there.

  14. Hey everyone here saif you want to no more story by Paigah Tombs email me on saif3601@gmail.com beacuse i am Owner of this place

  15. superb discovery

  16. sigh sadly this is my ancestral graveyard.and noone cares bout it.

  17. sadly this is my ancestral graveyard which noone cares.

  18. Anonymous7:29 AM

    My grandmother's grandfather is burried there and even my grandmother. His name was "Sardar-UL-Mulk Nawab Syed Jung Ghansi Miyan" is burried toward left side before you step on the enterance paigah nobles graveyard arch. He was a Commander of the troops of Nizams army. And "Ghansi Bazaar" is named after him .